LOT 725: 1902 Henry Chadwick Signed Poem to His Wife - PSA/DNA MINT 9 - Highest-Graded Chadwick Signature Example!Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized
In the days to come, as the bidding continues in REA’s Inaugural fall auction (which closes October 19, 2013), just for fun we will be highlighting a few items in the current auction on the REA blog. Some will be extremely valuable. Some will not. The only thing they will all have in common is that we like them! There are so many interesting items in the auction, and many times great items are overshadowed by the attention given other items strictly based on value. But as any collector will tell you, especially at REA, the historical value and the monetary value of items offered can sometimes seem out of whack. That’s just the nature of historic collectibles and the fickle world of values. It’s also part of the fun of the collecting world. Sometimes we scratch our heads at values that we think are too high or too low. Especially when we look at the rarity and importance of some items.
Poetic greetings from Henry Chadwick to his wife, dated July 24, 1902, signed “From your loving old husband - Henry Chadwick.” The poem has been encapsulated by PSA/DNA, with the Chadwick signature graded MINT 9. The sentimental twenty-line poem, on a single sheet measuring 3.25 x 5.5 inches, is entitled “To My Sweetheart Wife - A Birthday Rhyme - July 24th, 1902.” Written entirely in Chadwick’s hand, both the text and the signature are boldly printed in black ink and truly merit the grade of “MINT 9″ by PSA/DNA. The poem reads in part: “Of all the days of each passing year,/There were two which give me great joys/The nineteenth of August - so very dear/And the twenty fourth of July/…On that July day, love, you come into life,/To brighten and cheer all around;/And August gave me my treasured wife/And her praises I ever shall sound/To Him on high I daily give thanks/For the blessings of life and love;/And the birthday with the wedding day ranks,/As treasures to me from above. - From your loving old husband - Henry Chadwick.”
We have seen this piece once before, when REA auctioned it in May 2006, and it has always been one of our favorites. In addition to all of its outstanding aesthetic qualities and extremely strong signature, this piece is also accompanied by the remarkable verified provenance of having in recent years originated directly from Henry Chadwick’s great-great-granddaughter, Fran Henry. Fran Henry’s father, John Chadwick Worden, was Henry Chadwick’s great-grandson, and her grandmother, Avicia Mortimer Eldridge Worden, was Chadwick’s third grandchild. Avicia looked after both Henry Chadwick and his wife, Jane, during their later years and after their passing she inherited many of their personal belongings. While the bulk of Chadwick’s baseball collection was bequeathed to Albert Spalding, who later donated it to the New York Public Library, Avicia was still left with a tremendous amount of personal papers, documents, letters, books, memorabilia, and baseball items. This letter is one of the many autographed Chadwick pieces that were discovered by Fran Henry when she was cleaning out her grandmother’s house in 1980. Interestingly, Fran Henry discusses the discovery of “poetry by Henry to his wife Jane” in a special guest article (the first in a special series of guest articles) on John Thorn’s official Major League Baseball historical website, “Our Game.”
John Thorn, of course, is the official baseball historian of Major League Baseball and also a longtime friend of Fran Henry. In his preface to Henry’s article, Thorn also makes note that “Fran will create a special section of MLB’s Memory Lab project. It will create, through first-hand documents and artifacts, a highly personal portrait of a man [Henry Chadwick] most of us today know principally by his plaque in Cooperstown, awarded in the year before that institution opened its doors.” Since the time of Henry’s discovery of Chadwick’s personal papers in her grandmother’s house, many of the pieces have since entered the marketplace, but those pieces have long been absorbed within the hobby and this is the first Chadwick letter we have had the privilege of offering in many years. Chadwick-signed items are extremely rare and the demand still exceeds the limited supply. When this letter originally appeared at public auction as Lot 468 in REA’s April 2006 auction, it realized a final sale price of $2,610. When this letter was sold in 2006, it was authenticated by Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo of PSA DNA (as well as by James Spence of JSA, of course) but this was before PSA/DNA provided encapsulation and grading of signed flat items.
Since that time it has been submitted to PSA/DNA for encapsulation and grading, and PSA/DNA has graded the signature MINT 9, making this signed Chadwick letter all the more special as the single highest-graded Chadwick signed item authenticated by PSA/DNA to date. For years this letter has been the Chadwick signature on the PSA/DNA Set Registry in the Number-One Finest Set of All-Time Baseball Hall of Fame Autograph Collection (the extraordinary Twinight Collection, which has since been retired but can still be referenced for all time on the PSA/DNA Registry at http://www.psacard.com/DNASetRegistry/alltimeset.aspx?s=269). The sheet (3.25 x 5.5 inches) has been trimmed to its current dimensions and displays both a vertical fold (touching upon the signature) and a few small border tears. Good to Very Good condition overall. Encapsulated by PSA/DNA with additional full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+.
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